Politics

Ron Klain’s retweet of MSNBC anchor’s post was an endorsement, court rules

A retweet by President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, caused Biden’s widespread vaccine mandate to be blocked temporarily.

On September 9, Klain retweeted a post made by MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. “OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations,” Ruhle tweeted.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has ruled that this retweet counted as an endorsement, and on these grounds, the mandate cannot move further for the time being. The court ruled on Friday that Biden’s employer vaccine mandate would be paused, citing the retweet as a “key piece of evidence.”

Circuit Judge Kurt Engelhardt, who was on the three-judge panel, wrote in a footnote for the decision that the court uses Klain’s retweet of the term “work-around” as an “endorsement” of the description. “The public interest is … served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions,” he wrote.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice claimed that it will “vigorously defend” Biden’s vaccine mandate in court. “This decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard,” they said. “The Department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review.”

After Klain’s retweet in September, Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to say that the Biden administration was aware that “it’s likely illegal […] but they don’t care”. The administration is currently facing challenges from states, like Texas, over the vaccine mandate, which led to this specific court ruling.

Klain has faced backlash over other tweets that many feel were in poor taste. Last month, he retweeted a quote from Harvard economist Jason Furman’s post that claimed the rising inflation and supply-chain problems are “high-class problems”. 

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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